What coaching *really* is

What coaching *really* is

You’ve heard me talking about coaching, but do you know what it really is? I got to tackle this topic in my Q&A with Sherri Johnson at StyleBlueprint this week, and a couple of my clients talked about their own experiences with coaching. In the interview, which you can read here, Sherri asked me what’s the difference between a life coach, executive coach and a therapist. Excellent question! “A great coach looks at the highest level of who that person is,” I said. “You can’t address one part of the person and separate the business side or the personal goals — it’s about the whole person. It’s like that saying, ‘wherever you go, there you are.’” Oh, and let me tell you the behind-the-scenes about my clients in this article: When Sherri first pitched me this idea at CreativeMornings, she asked if I would have clients open to talking to me. At first, I wasn’t sure they’d want to be so open about their experiences. But when I asked, they wanted to go on the record so other people could see what’s possible for other moms out there, if they were open to the possibility of getting support. Chandra Johnson, owner of SOCO Gallery and wife of NASCAR’s Jimmy Johnson, talked about how she’s reaping the benefits of coaching today. “My friends have all noticed a transformation in me,” she says. “I now make decisions from my highest and best self, instead of fear.” The thing is, coaching is for people who are operating at high levels and need additional support. Sometimes people feel stuck, and they often can’t...
The Time(s) I Almost Quit Coaching

The Time(s) I Almost Quit Coaching

Boy, I had THE BEST time in Chicago: I lead my first Accomplishment Coaching training weekend. I wasn’t the #1 back up dancer. I was running the show with another leader. Large and in charge. This is what I’ve been working towards for the last three and a half years. And at times, I wanted to quit the whole shabang. Let me explain: I graduated three plus years ago from the AC Program. There was an opportunity to join the leadership team and be a mentor. Then there was a big opportunity to coach and train at the United Nations. My first year was great — relatively easy. And as I grew in my leadership — it got really hard. Training for a big job can be really confronting, especially in my work where when people call you out on your stuff. Often, ego and self-defense come into play. It’s a lot to deal with, and there were many times I wanted to quit. But, I had a few positive things on my side that kept me in the game: A coach who reminded me of my higher commitment to transforming lives. A supportive team to remind me of my greatness. A group of people who listened to me, always. Back to my Chicago trip: Saturday morning, I spoke to a group of 40ish people (participants, guests and mentor coaches) I didn’t know. I had to create credibility and relationships with people I’d never met in a city I’d never been in with a team I didn’t know. What happened: People saw things they hadn’t seen and valued my...
How a Wrong Turn Can Lead to the Right Possibilities

How a Wrong Turn Can Lead to the Right Possibilities

Recalculating… Sometimes I’ve missed my turn on the road, as I’m sure you have too. When that happens, your GPS says “recalculating” in a calm, reassuring voice (maybe in a British accent if that’s how you’ve set it) and gives you a new route. It doesn’t ask why you missed your turn. No judgment, just quick, simple action. But when you’re talking to yourself about missing a turn, you’re not as calm. Maybe you say, “Dang, I can’t believe I missed my turn!” Cue the colorful hand gestures. The GPS has no qualms about moving on and seeing where the new route takes you. But you do. As a coach, my job is to fulfill what I declare: Helping clients and teammates meet their goals. When we miss these goals, we just recalculate the route. There’s no beating yourself up for a missed turn. Or at least a new turn. Sometimes the missed turns are exactly where you need to go. It’s where you learn more about yourself and get back on track — or find a whole new track. This happened in a big way for me when Matt and I first met. I was a bartender in Brooklyn. He was working on Broadway and doing some freelance copywriting. One night, he and I hit it off. We started dating. But it became clear to me that (at the time) he was “zipped up” emotion-wise. And for me, that wouldn’t do. It seemed like we were on different routes for sure. Recalculating… But what happened next surprised both of us. We got honest with each other, and we’ve...
Dear Sarah – How One Letter Can Change Everything

Dear Sarah – How One Letter Can Change Everything

Two days ago, I was having a day.  A program I’m going to lead isn’t shaping up as I’d hoped, so I was crying and feeling so super crap-tastic. Now, I’m no stranger to letting out the tears (and that we should all make time for a good cry), but this time, I needed reinforcements.  I started looking on my computer and found my “Break Glass in Case of Emergency” letter. The letter I read to myself when I’m super down.  It read: Dear Sarah, Right now, you’re probably really upset. Really, really upset. The first thing I want you to know is it’s ok. Let it out, sister! If anyone you know and love were this angry/hurt/sad/disgusted/etc., you’d want them to let it out.  Every drop. So do that. I’ll wait. So, whatever’s going on, you’re going to be fine. You rock. You really do. You got it all going on, sister, and this is just a breakdown. Expected and welcomed.  Think about Mirabelle. How would you like her to be when she is this upset?  You are loved. Deeply. Adored. Cherished. People have said the most amazing things about you and they mean it.  You’re a rock star and have created incredible things and are just beginning. Whatever it is, I assure you it will pass and it ain’t that deep.  And with that, I dried up my tears.  I remembered who I really am and why I’m doing what I’m doing. This is the life I chose for myself, the manifestation of who I am and what I want to accomplish.  As a human, you’re going to have...
That Time I Tried To Buy My Husband’s Happiness

That Time I Tried To Buy My Husband’s Happiness

I get ideas in my head about things that are important. I think we all do. When Matt was in his late thirties, I knew I wanted to make a big deal about his 40th birthday. I was very committed to this idea and even started a savings account to ensure that I could do it up right for him. You see, Matt had a crap year professionally before we got married. He had an idea for a new play, chose a playwright, single-handedly guided the development of the show from Day One, and then moments before its Off-Broadway world premiere, the writer he was championing “broke up with him” professionally. For all you creatives out there, I’m certain you’re not falling out of your chair in shock. This kind of thing happens. And it’s crappy when it happens to someone you love. Matt was one of the lucky ones: he lawyered up before it became a hit; the show transferred to Broadway and got a Tony Award nod; he still gets credit in the script and on every production, and receives surprise royalty checks from time to time (the show has thus far received over 60 productions around the world). But for Matt (and so many artists) it was never about the money. He loved the show and put years of his life into it. To say the least, my man was bummed about what happened. But we didn’t have a long time to mope about it. We got married! We got pregnant! We left NYC! And my man got even more bummed. His creative outlets had all...
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